UK Politics

David Cameron to Jeremy Corbyn: For heaven's sake, go

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionCameron to Corbyn: 'For heaven's sake man, go!'

Prime Minister David Cameron has told Jeremy Corbyn to resign as Labour leader, claiming it is not in the national interest for him to continue.

During Prime Minister's Questions, the PM criticised Mr Corbyn's efforts during the EU referendum, telling him: "For heaven's sake man, go."

A challenge to Mr Corbyn's Labour leadership is expected following a no-confidence vote by MPs.

The Labour leader says quitting would betray all the members that back him.

Allies of Mr Corbyn, who has strong support among the party's members, have called on his critics to trigger a formal leadership contest.

Mr Corbyn's predecessor, Ed Miliband, has joined calls for him to quit, telling BBC Radio 4's The World at One his position was "untenable".

But former London mayor Ken Livingstone said Mr Corbyn would win any leadership contest and that people would be "appalled" at MPs trying to force out a leader elected by such a large margin.

The revolt among Labour MPs was triggered by the UK's vote to leave the European Union, after which Mr Cameron announced his resignation.

Image caption Jeremy Corbyn called for increased investment to boost the economy during PMQs

The PM said Mr Corbyn should "reflect on" his role in the campaign, adding: "He said he put his back into it, I would hate to see him when he wasn't trying."

Mr Corbyn, who like Mr Cameron had called for a Remain vote, pressed the PM on the economic uncertainty in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, asking for reassurances about investment and calling for the government to relax its fiscal rules and hold off on further austerity measures.

"Our country is divided, so we must heal that division," he said.

"Our economy is fragile so we must begin to rebuild it.

"Our duty now is to move forward in a calm and conciliatory manner to build a new relationship with Europe and build a Britain that works for everyone in every part of this country."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionCameron on the 'Article 50 tunnel'

The Labour leader also raised the reported rise in racist abuse following the vote to leave, calling for extra resources for communities targeted.

Mr Cameron condemned the attacks, pledging to "drive this appalling hate crime out of our country".

On the economy, the PM said there would be "some very choppy waters ahead", and targeted Mr Corbyn's leadership at the end of their exchanges.

"It might be in my party's interest for him to sit there, it's not in the national interest and I would say, for heaven's sake man, go," he said.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionCameron on immigration v single market

Organisers of a planned rally by Mr Corbyn's supporters on Wednesday night say it has been postponed owing to "too much demand".

A spokesman for the Momentum group said it was trying to secure a bigger venue for an event later in the week and that regional rallies would still go ahead.

Two possible candidates to run for the leadership are the party's deputy leader Tom Watson and ex-shadow business secretary Angela Eagle.

Mr Corbyn's supporters say he would automatically be on the ballot paper if there is a leadership contest, although his critics dispute this.